[Foundation-l] wikicouncil

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 31 11:26:56 UTC 2007

Marc Riddell wrote:
> on 12/30/07 11:46 AM, Florence Devouard at Anthere9 at yahoo.com wrote:
> <snip>
>> First problem: who can be defined as a community member ? What is
>> community ? We worked on that problem a year ago during the chapter
>> meeting and no satisfactory solution was found.
> Florence,
> This is a rather critical question here in the Project. References to
> "Community", "the Community", "Community Member(s)", etc., are made nearly
> every day throughout the various communications. When you worked on the
> problem a year ago, what was the final conclusion as to a definition of
> "Community" as relates to the Projects?
> Marc Riddell

Unfortunately, not satisfying answer. Community is too amorphous a concept.

In its largest meaning, community is "human population". The people we 
are working to create content for.

Some, in particular with regards to elections, consider that "community" 
is "every person interested in what we are doing". This will be a reason 
why some will consider that Larry Lessig, though not a participant of 
our projects, though not knowing anything of our internal workings, is a 
community member.

A more restricted definition will be "every person involved in what we 
are doing". That will involve editors, but also our developers for 
example. Note that some members of our internal community belong to this 
group, though they have hardly ever be editors; we would nevertheless 
consider them as "part of the community". Note that this definition is 
not the one followed by current elections (people who are developers, 
and have hardly ever edited do not have the right to vote).
I consider more or less this definition as being the definition of "the 
organization community".

An even more restricted definition is "those who have at least xxx edits 
on one of our projects". This is the current election definition for voters.

Of course, even the more restricted definition of community allow 
further division. There is the Wikipedia community, the Wiktionary 
community, the Wikibooks community (the first being dominant but the 
other ones fighting for their recognition and the recognition of their 
own specificities, which is good). Then, there is the english community, 
french community, japanese community. And every mix we could imagine, 
english wikipedia, german wikibooks, spanish wiktionary.

I'll be happy to add there the mediawiki community, overlapping largely 
with all others.

And it would be fair to say that there are two other communities, which 
to the contrary of ALL others, are closed and very little flexible. The 
internal community, and the comcom community.

And I think I can not leave aside the chapter communities, which is also 
a group of sort.

I probably forget a couple of communities...

The meeting in oct 06 was unable to decide what "community" was, because 
it is simply impossible. However, I thought we should have tried to work 
on the definition of "community" meaning with regards to representativity.


The current situation at the board level is broken, because we stated 
that "we want a majority coming from community" (through elections or 
appointement), but without defining what community is.

So, current situation is that for example, some are arguing that 
Jan-Bart is not from the community; but others are arguing that he is 
from the community. Both statements are correct, depending on the 
definition. For JB, it is probably very hurting to tell him "you are an 
outsider", however, he has never put his hands in the practical job.

For example, some are arguing that Jimbo is not a community member, 
whilst Jimbo argues that he is. He knows some of our communities, but it 
would be fair to argue that he always had a special position, and as 
such, can hardly represent those with no special position.

For example, some argue that Larry Lessig is a community member, whilst 
most do not. Larry knows part of the free world, does that mean he could 
represent the editors or developers playing with the clay every day ?


What I would love seeing is a rather more granular definition of 
community, without going radical. By and large, there is
* the editing community, and I would suggest breaking it down by 
projects, then perhaps by languages if necessary
* the developer community
* the chapter community

Each of these three communities would have a certain number of seats 
reserved on the board, each seat being clearly labelled as "representing 
the 1) editors, or 2) developers and 3) chapter, communities".

It is up to these three communities to decide how they want to select 
their representative.
I would freely suggest chapters could do so by direct vote of all 
chapter members; it would make wonder to push chapters to get a common 
I would freely suggest developers could do so by direct vote of all 
developer members; with "eligeability" to vote being "have submitted at 
least xx number of accepted patches, or whatever allow them to recognize 
real developers from jerks".
I would freely suggest editing community to think of moving toward 
indirect vote, thought the wikicouncil.

All this draw a picture of three main communities.
* Those editing the projects
* Those helping through technical maintenance or software improvement
* Those facilitating content development, distribution and lobbying, 
through legal structures (wikimedia chapters)


We could imagine 6 seats being reserved for these three communities. 
Such as 1 for developer, 2 for chapters and 3 for editors.

That would let 5 seats. Which could be filled up directly by board 
itself through appointment, or be filled up by a nominating committee, 
if there is such thing one day.


I nearly forgot, Marc,


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